SEEAC: Changing environmental impact assessment systems in Central Africa: The role of national professional associations
The document can be downloaded from the following link: Evolution des systèmes d’étude d’impact sur l’environnement en Afrique centrale : Rôle des associations nationales de professionnels
... the analysis and conclusions coming out of this collective work, the projects required for its development, are all potential convergence points between SEEAC and all other stakeholders in sustainable development, hence the need to pool resources to promote Environmental Assessment, both at national and sub -regional level...
Pooling efforts to promote environmental assessment in Central Africa
Environmental assessment may be defined as the set of processes aimed at integrating aspects of the natural and human environment into decision-making on the design, planning, implementation and monitoring of interventions geared towards balanced and sustainable development. The best known form of environmental assessment in Central Africa is the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which applies to projects under appraisal. It increasingly entails the use of environmental audits for ongoing projects and Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) for policies, plans or programs.
Environmental assessment undoubtedly stands out as one of the major levers available to actors of sustainable development in helping to mainstream elements of governance and sustainability into the development process in Central African countries. Indeed, it is a tool:
1- which is explicitly integrated in most international conventions and multilateral agreements on natural resources and environmental management;
2 - acknowledged and prescribed by the legal framework of virtually all countries and the procedures of Central Africa’s development partners;
3 - which is the subject of specific institutional arrangements and advocates stakeholder involvement, including populations and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs ) in decision making.
However, despite its recognized potential, its effectiveness in Central African countries despite some progress remains relatively weak, due to an array of constraints that deserve attention. The Central Africa Secretariat for Environmental Assessment (SEEAC), a forum which brings together National Associations for Environmental Assessment, and provides a neutral platform for scientific and professional exchange, is one of the solutions offered by professionals from Central African countries in this respect. In addition, and as shown in the analysis and conclusions of this collective work, the projects needed to achieve this aim are all possible meeting points between SEEAC and all other stakeholders contributing to sustainable development, hence the need to pool resources towards the promotion of Environmental Assessment, at both national and sub-regional level.
Drawing on the example of some countries and the Support Project to National Associations for Environmental Assessment in Central Africa (PAANEEAC), this book seeks to position itself as the first such platform that showcases the development of EIA systems in Central African countries, highlighting efforts made by various actors.
This, among other things, is one of the areas which could help materialize our solidarity in favor of environmental assessment in Central Africa, to which we are all invited to bring a contribution.
Dieudonné Bitondo, Ir , PhD.
Executive Secretary of SEEAC
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